This section is from the book "The Beverages of the Chinese; Kung-fu or Tauist Medical Gymnastics; the Population of China; A Modern Chinese Anatomist and A Chapter in Chinese Surgery.", by John Dudgeon. Also available from Amazon: Kung Fu, or Taoist Medical Gymnastics.
These figures for the cure of disease by perspiration were designed by the celebrated surgeon Hwa-to, of the Han dynasty (2nd century A.D.), who is not only the Esculapius of China but was well versed in all the secrets of Tauism. He was wondrously skilled in acupuncture, and some of his surgical operations are of a very marvellous description. He was the first to use anaesthetics in scraping the poison from the arm of Kwan-ti, the god of war and patron of the present dynasty. If one's body is not in health and peace, the performance of these five figures will produce perspiration and cure the disease and discomfort.
Figure 1. - The Tiger. Close the breath, bend the head, close the fists tightly, and assume the severe form of a tiger. The two hands are slowly to lift a supposed weight of 1000 catties; the breath is to be retained till the body is upright, then swallowed and carried down into the abdomen. This is to cause the "divine air" (animal spirits, energy) to proceed from above downwards and produce in the abdomen a sound like thunder; to be done some 7 times. By this sort of movement, the air and pulses of the body will be harmonized, and the hundred (all) diseases prevented from being produced.
Figure 2. - The Bear. Assume the form of a bear, incline the body slightly to the side, swing it to the right and left, place one foot in front and one behind, and stand fast. Use the air till the ribs on the two sides and the joints all resound. Also, move the strength of the loins to remove the swelling (?) some 3 to 5 times. This will relax and tranquilize the tendons and bones. This also is the method for nourishing the blood.
Figure 3. - The Deer. Shut the breath, bend the head, close the fists tightly, turn the head like a deer viewing its tail; the body even, contract the shoulders, stand on tip-toe, stamp on the heel, and including the " heavenly pillar" ( the neck) the entire body will move; do it some 3 times, or each day once will also do. To do it once, on getting out of bed in the morning, is the best of all.
Figure 4. - The Monkey. Stop the breath, assume the form of a monkey climbing a tree, one hand as it were holding some fruit, one foot raised; on the heel of one foot turn the body, and cause the "divine air" to revolve,* carrying it into the abdomen till you feel perspiration is exuding, and then it is finished.
Figure 5. - The Bird. Close the breath, assume the form of a bird flying, raise the head, inspire the air of the coccyx, and cause it to ascend to the hollow of the vertex (head); let the two hands assume in front [the attitude of] reverence [or worship], raise the head In fact, without this there is properly speaking no kung It is the very essence of the art, and the greatest stress is laid upon it. Its impossibility, absurdity, and uselessness, even if possible, do not require to be demonstrated. The benefit which is derived is from the exercise in attempting the impossible. Man is considered a "little heaven." The pure air is inspired, and, by swallowing it with effort, it is carried down to the navel or tan tien - an imaginary spot one inch below the navel - thence to the coccyx, where there is an aperture which in young persons is pervious but in old persons is filled up with fat; thence up the back, past the "double barrier" to the occiput; then over the vertex to the " heavenly door " (the brow), and finally finely egress by the nostrils as foul air. This is performing a revolution of the microcosm, and that which is denoted by yun-ch'i. The Tauists prefer the retirement in the monasteries in the hills to go through these exercises, as the air there is pure.
* The expression yun-ch'i occurs in almost every exercise.
(so as to have the face upwards), and go out to meet the spirit and break the vertex (i.e., open the brain, as it were, to receive it).